Marketing yourself for success

by Tate Zanner01 Feb 2021

As Australia continues to recover from the pandemic, Tate Zanner, founder of award-winning marketing agency Insil, says brokers who want to stand out from the crowd must have a strong presence in the local community.

When COVID-19 first reared its head back in March 2020, I personally heard from many mortgage brokers who reacted by temporarily withdrawing their marketing. They made the move that seemed easiest and simplest to them at the time: cutting down on what they were spending to acquire new clients.

Now, in 2021, with things looking a little more stable in Australia at least, many mortgage brokers are scrambling to make up for lost time. As markets begin to recover and the property market shows some incredibly positive signs, many brokers are realising that their impulsive reaction in slowing down their marketing spend was a mistake.

My advice to those brokers is to double down on their local marketing efforts and understand that in order to acquire a long-term, loyal customer, they must relearn that it’s OK to spend some money.

Brokers are lucky to work in an industry that allows for a high lifetime client value. Clients pass down mortgage brokers between family members, often spanning generations and decades. With this in mind, it shouldn’t matter if you have to spend slightly more on acquisition costs, because over time that return on investment will be strong.

Being a good mortgage broker is about building a strong positioning and awareness in the local community, but often this is easier said than done. Generally speaking, since brokers tend to work in their small geographic areas, it’s critical that they’re able to position themselves in their community as the go-to people for mortgage finance.

In order to find high-intent leads, a strong local marketing strategy for mortgage brokers should involve a combination of online advertising via Facebook and Google, and physical advertising in the local area, including advertising in places such as train stations and bus stops. By covering your bases in both the physical and online world, you’ll be in the best position to catch as many leads as possible.

An ideal strategy would involve a blended approach in which physical ads point to your website, and online ads make it clear how customers can physically meet up with you. The ultimate aim is to be seen as an approachable, trusted part of the local community.

However, instead of implementing a ‘spray and pray’ approach, mortgage brokers need to ensure they’re tracking down those leads that are already further down the intent pyramid. The first 3% of people in your market are conscious that they have a problem, and they’re looking for a solution. The next 7% are conscious that they have a problem, but they’re not looking. It’s far better to spend more money tracking down that 3% than to spend even more on persuading those who aren’t currently open to the idea of hiring a broker.

Google is absolutely brilliant for mortgage brokers in particular because potential clients are already in the high-intent phase. Nine times out of 10, Google Ads have a positive return on investment for this very reason. However, Google Ads aren’t always a quick fix, and it’s best to analyse their effectiveness over a longer period of time, perhaps even on an annual basis. This is because a lot of optimisation needs to be done before you’ll start seeing results.

Facebook Ads are great for positioning and awareness, and you can reach a lot of people for a very low cost. Facebook’s location targeting options are second to none and can help keep your marketing hyper-local. However, again, it doesn’t make any sense to expect a sale immediately.

Design your ad strategy with the intention of building a strong position in your local community’s mind, so that when you finally get to speak to them, you’ve already covered off a lot of objections and built a high level of trust.

Call centres are another option to add to the mix, although when considering them brokers should constantly remind themselves that finance is personal, and almost all potential clients would be uncomfortable about discussing their home loan with someone from an overseas call centre. Again, this is where local reigns supreme, especially hyper-local centres that know the area inside out.

Mortgage brokers themselves should also not be afraid to jump on the phone if they have the time to do so. Even though cold calls can feel uncomfortable, the personal touch will immediately help ease any tensions. As with anything, practice makes perfect.

Home loans aren’t a quick decision. It’s not easy to switch a large part of your financial life over to a new person, and for this reason, any marketing should be approached with a long-term vision in mind. But by revealing their clear local knowledge and insight, brokers will be well on their way to a lifetime of marketing success.